March 27, 2012
Like many, I welcomed the iPhone 4S with some mild hesitation when Apple’s fifth-generation handset arrived last fall. After all, despite some nice upgrades on the inside, the current iPhone looks exactly like its predecessor, the iPhone 4. Still, five months in, the iPhone 4S is proving quite popular. And now we may know why; a large majority of customers are using Siri, Apple’s voice recognition software, which comes exclusively on the iPhone 4S. Currently, 87 percent of iPhone 4S owners use Siri on a monthly basis, according to a new Parks Associates survey (via The Wall Street Journal). Of these, many use the digital assistant to make calls and send text-messages. Less, however, use Siri to perform tasks such as to play music and schedule meetings.
Many other Siri services are getting little pickup, however. They include playing music and scheduling meetings. Thirty-two and 35% of 4S users, respectively, said they had never used Siri to perform those actions. Those categories also had some of the lowest percentage of users that did either daily or almost daily.Most interesting, the technology "stirred up strong emotions in users…the comments ranged from “best thing since the invention of toast” to “it’s very disappointing,” according to the report.”
So how does Apple make Siri even better?Adding more integration would help. Already, we’ve reported ESPN could become the next third party to integrate with the service. However, why stop there? Apple could also add integration from the company’s own iTunes Movie Trailers app, so Siri can tell us what’s showing at our local multiplex. Finally, a popular choice would be to add Siri to the iPhone 4. One place Siri might not be welcomed is on the long-rumored iTV. According to the Parks Associates survey, just 37 percent of iPhone 4S users said they “definitely” wanted voice-commands on their television sets. According to John Barrett, director of consumer analytics at Parks Associates, this is due to “limited enthusiasm” for the feature and concerns Siri wouldn’t work well in noisy areas.
“When watching TV there is so much background noise,” he said.Apple’s future plans for Siri will be most interesting; hopefully we’ll hear much more at WWDC in June, when the company is most likely to unveil its next generation operating system, iOS 6. What do you use Siri for? What features would you like to see in the future?